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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 17, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Tuberculosis

TB, not swine flu, the real threat

Thank you for the guest column on tuberculosis [“A never-ending battle to keep TB at bay,” Opinion, June 15]. It is strange that the world is very concerned about swine flu and is spending a lot of time, money and expertise to treat people in case a lot of people get it, though thus far it seems the reactions are mild or moderate.

TB, which is here in the U.S., Washington state and around the world, kills close to 2 million people a year yet seems to be escaping attention. Our soldiers are stationed in some of the countries with the highest TB rates, and TB is the No. 1 killer of people with AIDS. New York City spent more than $1 billion getting control of its drug-resistant TB epidemic in the early ’90 s, and fewer than 350 people were infected.

If we fail to act now, and let our guard down, a lot more people will be infected and affected, and it will cost billions more to get it back under control.

— Bob Dickerson, Seattle

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